Authors: Desiree Holt
Tags: #Cat Shifters/ Contemporary/ Crime and Mystery
“Promises, promises.” She scooted off his lap. “And now I have no panties to wear, you caveman.”
“But think how horny I’ll be knowing that, the whole time you’re sitting there next to my sister-in-law.” He touched a finger to her lips. “And no dancing with anyone. If I see anyone’s hand on your ass I might have to do a little clawing of my own.”
“No chance of that, with you standing next to me glowering.” She laughed. “Your coffee’s cold. Let’s get you a fresh cup. The club should be filling up a little more by now.”
They both took a moment to be sure their clothes were arranged and that they looked presentable. Then Seth unlocked the door and guided her out to her stool at the bar.
The rogue mixed breed leaned against the wall and surveyed the club. For the moment the crowd was giving the jukebox a rest so the noise level rose only with the volume of people’s voices. He grinned at two women who walked by him on their way to the ladies’ room, his usual smile that was one half reassuring and one half I’d-like-to-fuck-you. It was a look he’d perfected since he first began hunting.
Others smiled at him as they drifted from the dance floor to the few tables or simply stood with their drinks. He loved the way the women looked after they had been dancing for a while. Sweaty. Clothes plastered to their bodies. The scent of their musk so strong he had a hard time keeping his cock in his pants.
Careful here. Remember how hard you’ve worked to be the familiar face that women feel safe with. The one they love to laugh with. Chatter with.
The crowd wasn’t quite as thick tonight as it had been, but he chalked most of that up to it being a weeknight. Wednesdays were always jumping but a lot of that was the result of the extended Happy Hour. He’d expected a little blowback because of the attacks, but he’d been around The Litter Box long enough to know that even fear didn’t keep these breeds away for long. This was one of the very few places—actually the one at the top of the list—where they could be confident there weren’t any humans in the crowd. If one happened to stray in, they were made to feel unwelcome enough that they never returned.
He cast his eyes over the women one at a time. He’d really like a piece of the honey blonde sitting at the bar, but it was becoming more and more obvious she belonged to the fucking cop always hanging around. When the rage had first seized him, he’d had his eyes on Aisha McClellan. But now she was the boss’ wife, and if he didn’t want to bring down the wrath of hell on himself, he’d best stay away from her.
His gazed wandered to the blonde again. She was just so damned tempting. It would serve the cop—Max’s brother, no less—right if he used her. That guy was just too condescending, the way he hung out and looked at everyone like they were suspects he wanted to drag down to the station and lock in an interrogation room. He and the owner had gone to great lengths to tell people he was there to see if he could spot the killer. That he’d protect them. The club even gave out flyers to all the women telling them what to do to be safe. The rogue smothered a laugh.
I’ll be gone before you can catch me. Maybe I’ll leave you with a special souvenir.
But then he spotted a familiar face, another blonde that he’d developed a casual acquaintanceship with and his inner beast began to growl and hiss.
Okay. Let’s put her on the menu for tonight.
Max took advantage of a slight break in the orders to spend a little time with his wife and talk to Seth about The Shredder. He leaned on the end of the bar next to where Seth was standing.
“Were those receipts I gave you the other day any help?”
Seth made a face. “So far no hits, but we’re still checking every single name that popped up multiple times.”
“I hate to think one of my regular customers is this genetic mutant.” He looked around the room. “I find myself studying every man in here, looking to see if I can spot something out of line. You know—a glance, a gesture.”
Seth shook his head. “Forget it. The Shredder’s perfected his act to the point where he doesn’t give himself away.”
“But you do agree with me that he finds out where these women live by talking to them, right? That they feel safe with him? Even attracted to him?”
“Yes. I don’t know how else he’d be able to learn all that. He’s easy to talk to. Smooth. A familiar face.”
Aisha snorted. “That could describe half the men in here. Including the two of you.”
“That’s what bothers me,” Max told them. “I know a lot of these guys almost as well as I know myself. It’s going to kill me if it turns out to be one of them.”
“I wish I could promise you differently,” Seth told him, “but a familiar face from here is the most likely. It’s just frustrating the hell out of me that no matter how much I study everyone, I can’t spot him.”
“Because,” Max reminded him, “like you said, he’s perfected the appearance he shows the public.”
“I’d like to shred him myself,” Seth muttered.
Kendall looked around. “It just gives me the creeps to think he could be looking at me right now.”
Seth closed his hand over hers. “You can believe one thing. It’s obvious even to a blind person that you belong to me. And that Aisha’s taken. So at least the two of you are off the table for him.”
“I wish all the other women had the same protection.”
* * * *
Despite the urging from the Rogan brothers, Kendall and Aisha had insisted on staying until closing. The last of the crowd had finally gone, Leo had left and Max turned the lock on the front door.
“See you tomorrow night,” he told his brother. “At least in two more days it’s Sunday and we all get a day off.”
“I asked the captain to ask for help from the sheriff’s department, stepping up the patrols. Maybe we’ll get lucky.” He helped Kendall off the stool. “Come on, gorgeous, let’s go home to bed.”
She whispered in his ear, “But not to sleep, right?”
Seth nipped at her lower lip. “I love an insatiable woman.”
* * * *
Cindy had meant to leave early, but she’d been having such a good time. Tonight she’d danced more than usual. She wanted to think it was because the men had finally discovered she was a jewel in dull clothing, rather than the fact there happened to be fewer women tonight. A couple of the men she’d danced with a few times had even bought her drinks.
But when it had come time to leave, she’d regretfully turned down a couple of invitations to follow her home. Until this maniac was caught, she was keeping her socialising strictly to public places, even with cats she knew well.
Because, really, how well do you actually know anyone?
Quit talking to yourself. You’re fine. Just get home, get in the house and lock the door.
If she hadn’t still been talking to herself, she wouldn’t have been so startled by the familiar figure suddenly beside her in her driveway. Her eyes widened.
“What are you doing here?”
He smiled at her, the familiar curving of his full lips that always made her feel good. “Just doing my part to see you women get home safely.”
“Silly.” She juggled her keys until she had her house key between her fingers. “You can’t see everyone home.”
“Just my favourites. Come on. Let’s get you in the house.”
His fingers closed over her elbow, urging her up onto her porch. He put his hand casually against her back as she unlocked the door and pushed it open. In the little foyer she turned to him.
“Thanks so much for doing this. I’m fine now.”
Before she could blink, he raised his hand and smacked her so hard on the side of the head that her ears rang. She stumbled and fell to the floor. “What are you doing?” she cried, as he pulled off his clothing. Then her eyes widened in fear. “Ohmigod! You’re…you’re him! Oh, Lord. Oh, help!”
She opened her mouth to scream but he leant down and slapped her again. Hard. Dazed, her brain rattling, she tried desperately to scrabble backwards but he was on her now, ripping her clothes away. He clamped his hand over her mouth as he shoved her legs apart and entered her brutally. That was the last memory she would ever have.
They were lying naked in Kendall’s bed. She had her head on his shoulder, her fingers idly toying with the thick hair on his chest, his hand lazily stroking her arm. He was doing his best to relax, but the ever-present spectre of The Shredder continued to loom over him.
“I’d tell you to put it out of your mind for a while,” Kendall commiserated, “but I’m thinking that’s pretty impossible.”
“You’re right. I can’t erase the images from my mind of those poor women and the agony they went through. And their families. This latest one yesterday…” He tried to push the image away. The woman had been found when a co-worker had gone to her house to see why she hadn’t shown up at the office. “We had to send the woman who found her to the hospital, she was in such a state of shock. I’m sure it’s a nightmare that will haunt her forever.”
“I can’t even make myself imagine seeing something so horrific.”
Seth tightened his arm around her. “I’ve talked to our alpha about this.”
“Oh?” She tilted her head to look at his face. “What did he say?”
“We’re trying to come up with a plan where the pack can help. The problem is how to have a bunch of big cats prowling residential neighbourhood without calling attention to themselves and creating a panic.”
“Have you come up with anything?”
He shook his head. “Nothing definitive. And I certainly can’t bring it up to my captain. But the alpha’s coming to the bar tonight to talk to Max and me.” He shifted slightly. “You know, that will give me a chance to introduce you to him.”
He felt the tension ride though her body.
“What… How do you think he’ll react to me?”
Seth’s sudden laugh was low, smooth, seductive. “You worried about getting his approval? Don’t be. He’ll love you as much as I do.”
But her body was still stiff in his arms. “I’ve just been an orphan so long, without a pack of any kind, I’m not sure I’ll fit in.”
“Hey, hey, hey…” He’d never thought about her reaction to his pack affiliation. They’d never discussed it before. He knew from Max that she was a stray shifter, apparently the sole survivor of an attack on her pack. “I don’t know if Aisha told you but she was an orphan, too, and with huge, huge problems. Now, through Max, she’s an integral part of our pack. And everyone loves her.”
“She’s never said anything.” Kendall lazily dragged a fingernail over one of Seth’s nipples and his cock pulsed in response. “I mean, we’ve gotten pretty close, but she’s really a private person.”
“I just brought it up so you’d understand that bringing you into the pack won’t be a problem.”
She turned in his arms. “Bringing me into the pack?”
“Uh-huh.” He kissed her forehead. “Surely you had to know that when this mess is cleaned up we’re going to move forward with our lives.” A tiny fist of worry grabbed his insides and twisted them. “Kendall, I don’t think I misread this, did I?”
She gave his nipple a light pinch, then bent her mouth to soothe it with her tongue. “No. I was just yanking your chain a little. My bad.” She licked the other nipple. “I think I knew from the moment I saw you that we were meant to be mated.”
“Oh, God,” he moaned, and rolled her beneath him.
Her body fit his perfectly in every way, soft to his hard, curves to his angles. And the way her pussy always stretched to let him fill her with his entire length, her heat scorching him…
He kissed her cheeks, her jawline, the hollow at the base of her throat where her pulse was beating a frantic rhythm. Then he turned to her breasts, capturing each nipple in turn, licking and sucking until she moaned her pleasure. He loved her breasts, firm and high and just the right size, with ripe, plump nipples that felt so good on his tongue.
When he’d teased them to their fullest and hardest, he slid lower, laving the soft skin of her tummy and leaving a trail of wet kisses until he reached the neatly trimmed curls of her mound. He teased her with his tongue along the creases where hip and thigh joined together before giving in to her whimpering pleas, opening her labia and stroking his tongue over her slit.
She lifted herself to him, those little sounds he loved so much rolling over him, and he obliged her by swirling his tongue around the hot bud and grazing it with his teeth.
“Oh, oh, oh.”
The soft exclamations were like spears striking right at the centre of his cock. He increased the pressure of his tongue, the pace of his strokes, his hands gripping her hips and holding her in place. When he drew his tongue the length of her slit, drinking in the sweet taste of her juices, she grabbed his hair with her slim fingers to hold him in place.
As if I could ever leave.
He licked every inch of her outer and inner lips, finally stiffening his tongue and thrusting it inside. Immediately the walls of her cunt trembled against him, tugging at him and he gathered her cream into his mouth. Jesus, he was so hard, if he moved the wrong way in bed his dick would bend or break.